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The Wildlife Album

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Old Thursday 14th April 2005, 22:26   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Birmingham, England
Posts: 379
The Wildlife Album

I've just received this press release:


The Wildlife Album

The Wildlife Album is a celebration of nature and music with all profits going to the World Wildlife Fund and the Ulster Wildlife Trust.

The album features artists and music ranging from folk, rock, and fusion through jazz, blues and baroque, consisting of twenty one tracks either specifically recorded for the project or previously unreleased. Some deal with ecological themes some do not.

The Artists:

Cara Dillon, The Dennison Quartet, Helen McGurk, Martyn Joseph, Duffy Power, Leafhound, Catherine Harper, Tina McSherry, Jan Akkerman, Janet Holmes, Bert Jansch, Roy Harper, Steve Ashley, Gordon Giltrap, Rick Monro, Martin Hayes, Colin Reid, Andy Irvine, Fairport Convention, Dennis Cahill, Brooks Williams.

1. Cara Dillon. The Other Side (3:05)

2. The Dennison Quartet. Passing Away: For The Dodo & The Great Auk (3:36)

3. Helen McGurk/Legends Of Tomorrow. My Heart Is Broken (4:48)

4 Martyn Joseph. If A Tree Falls

5. Duffy Power. Sweet Again (3:47)

6. Leafhound. Sad Road To The Sea (3:14)

7. Catherine Harper/Ensemble De Lassus. Bon Jour Mon Couer (1:44)

8. Tina McSherry/The Wildlife Ensemble. Most People I Know Think That I'm Crazy (3:50)

9. Jan Akkerman. Rain Happens (5:07)

10. Janet Holmes. Long, Long, Long (2:23) 14.

11. Bert Jansch. Blues For A Green Earth (2:44)

12. Roy Harper. Jabberwocky (1:40)

13. Steve Ashley. Say Goodbye (5:48)

14. Gordon Giltrap. Here Comes The Sun (2:44)

15. Rick Monro/Susan Enan/Iain Archer

16. Martin Hayes/Legends Of Tomorrow The Master Of Silence (Trip To Ennis) (4:23)

17. Colin Reid Gymnopedie (3:26)

18. Andy Irvine with Ian Anderson Moreton Bay (5:26)

19. Fairport Convention I'm Already There (6:04)

20. Dennis Cahill. Sleepwalk (2:48)

21. Brooks Williams. The Master Of Silence (Slight Return) (5:30)

The Wildlife Album was created by Colin Harper - a member of the UWT and a seasoned music writer & biographer as a way to possibly raise more funds for the above charities than any one person could afford to do as an individual.

The Ulster Wildlife Trust
The Ulster Wildlife Trust is the largest locally based conservation organisation in Northern Ireland with a membership of more than 2,500 and is a partner in the 47 strong national network of Wildlife Trusts, with a combined membership of over 356,000 and a network of more than 2,500 nature reserves throughout the United Kingdom.

World Wildlife Fund
  • The world's largest and most experienced independent conservation organisation;
  • A truly global network, working in more than 90 countries;
  • A challenging, constructive, science-based organisation that addresses issues from the survival of species and habitats to climate change, sustainable business and environmental education;
  • A charity dependent upon its five million supporters worldwide - some 90 per cent of our income derives from voluntary sources such as people and the business community. . An organisation that makes a difference

About The Wildlife Album by Colin Harper

For several years in the nineties I got by as a writer on music. In Belfast. I
look back on it as a great adventure - a miracle, perhaps, that I made enough money to live, but such a privilege to have met and to have chronicled the curious histories of some dreamers and pioneers much crazier than I, in society's eyes. As the song says, 'I met my heroes then/I made them all my friends.' And when it came to this little adventure many of those heroes, I'm proud to say, answered the call.

Twelve of the twenty one tracks here were recorded/commissioned specifically for this album. Of the remaining ten, four - from Fairport Convention, Steve Ashley, Leafhound and Duffy Power - derive from existing albums (albeit one, Duffy's, currently unissued), one (by Janet Holmes) is an outtake from an existing album, and the remaining five from my own perhaps largely unfathomable accumulation of collaborative recorded works.

It would be too complicated to explain why most of this canon exists: much of it, truly, never had any commercial aspiration - recording music was a just a way of dealing with things in life that troubled me. And, in a way, several years on, that's just what this project is all about: being now in a position of relative security (as part-time writer and full-time librarian), I find that I still have, niggling away, an unrelenting distress at the state of the world and, not least, our custodianship of its creatures.

One imagines that most of the developed world, these days, would be appalled at the idea of people routinely sailing off to remote parts of the globe to kill penguins with wooden clubs. In the 18th and early 19th centuries this was acceptable behaviour - the private collectors and museums of Europe racing to acquire specimens of the flightless, doomed creature for which the word 'penguin' had first been coined. The craze and demand were such that history records the very day and place where the very last pair of Great Auks in the world were found and destroyed: a little volcanic rock several miles off Iceland in the middle of the Atlantic, almost (but not quite) inaccessible, June 22nd 1844. What a bloody fantastic day for civilisation that was.

Errol Fuller, whose books on the Great Auk and its fellow travellers to extinction have been a singular inspiration, believes it took a timescale of probably no more than 40 years, a couple of centuries earlier, for mankind to consign another flightless bird, the Dodo, to oblivion. We don't even, properly, know what this creature looked like any more. The moral issues of taxidermy aside, not even one genuine stuffed Dodo exists. Not one. And yet, more monstrous still, for it is within living memory, a developed nation managed to somehow 'run out' of a large mammal, found nowhere else in the world - the Thylacine, an extraordinary dog-like relative of the Kangaroo. The last individual of its kind died, after brief years of powerless, looming realisation among its keepers, at a zoo on Tasmania in 1936.

In the same way that the noble and ancient civilisation which erected the stone gods of Easter Island doomed themselves to an impoverished, primitive survival into the modern era by the deforestation of their island - incredibly, realising too late that without trees they had no means to build boats, and without boats no means to escape their now desolate isle - mankind, in our coexistence with the fauna of the world, has a depressing record of ineptitude, complacency and crime. Who shall be next? The Red Squirrel? The Whale? The Tiger? The Dormouse? The Polar Bear? The Stoat? And then, when all else is gone, shall we come for the Penguin, lingering on, powerless as the Auk, in the last place on Earth?

Thank God - as an easily dispirited individual - for empowering organisations like the (global) World Wide Fund For Nature and the (local) Ulster Wildlife Trust. As the powers of the world oil the wheels of their will, insofar as it affects environmental matters, with prevarication, discussion and spin, it is comforting to put faith in bodies who can fight fire with fire - countering prevarication with agendas, discussion with purpose, spin with fact. I know that I wouldn't have the heart for it; but I'm glad that there are those who do.


Thanks to the Ulster Wildlife Trust and the World Wide Fund for Nature for coming aboard what could well have been mistaken for a leaky vessel captained by a day-dreaming loony; to Errol Fuller for his inspirational books and the use of his art; to Michael Keeney for his tremendous flexibility and commitment to engineering the Cara Dillon and Andy Irvine sessions at the drop of a hat; to Enda Walsh and Gary Aiken, again for their flexibility and generous studio terms; to the dream team (Mark 1) of Mark Case and Rick Monro for their generous work on CD and website design respectively; to the dream team (Mark 2) of Peter Muir and Pat Tynan, at Market Square Records/Singsong PR, for daring to run with this on a national level; to Heather, for putting up in general with my eccentric, and usually expensive, schemes and for her own compassion for the wild of the world (may the Bear and the Penguin sleep easier in that knowledge); and, finally, to every one of the musicians who gave time and energy to the project - many squeezing in recording and travel time in the middle of extremely busy schedules. Thank you. Let us hope some good may come of it.

For further information on the artists and the charities involved, and for
advising your listeners or readers as to how to purchase copies of the album, visit the web-site at
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